As the weather gets nicer I notice that a lot of my co-workers are going out for lunch pretty much everyday. I'll admit it is very temping. We are right on Michigan Ave in downtown Chicago and there is literally everything within walking distance from us. But things change when you really sit down and add up the money you spend eating take out every week.
The average downtown lunch, at let's say a Chipotle, Mc Donald's or Panera Bread, will run you about $7-$9 per day (including the main course, beverage and side of chips or fries). If you do this at least 3 times a week you are at $21- $27 a week which would be about $84- $108 a month. Do you know how many outfits I can buy with that!!?!?!? Yeah I'll stick to my packed lunch.
I went out a few times since I started working downtown but for the most part I have been on a strict bring your lunch to work diet! During the week I bring left overs almost everyday. On the days we don't have left overs I may bring a frozen dinner or go into our cafeteria and buy a $3-$4 salad. Even though this is spending extra money on food it is still better that that $7-$9. I also bring my own water bottle, no pop machines for me!
I also bring snacks which I can now stylishly and conveniently tote in my new lunch bag accessories. I had already bought this Pack-It lunch bag which is cute and really nice. You freeze it and it stays cold-cool for about 10 hours. A great find at a Bed Bath & Beyond that was closing near my home. A co-worker told me about the To- Go Mug by Sistema, which she was using to microwave a can of soup. I was instantly sold. I picked this baby up at Bed Bath & Beyond for $6.99, which turned out to be 5.59 with my 20% coupon. It can contain an entire can of soup and you can microwave & freeze it. The Sistema containers are dishwasher & microwave safe and come in a million different colors and shapes. There is literally one for any type of meal you could image toting along to work or on a road trip. They have a pretty large variety in Bed Bath & Beyond but even more on their website. I got a smaller snack size with two compartments that are perfect for the coby cheese and wheat crackers I like to eat with my pineapples at work. I still carry my pineapples in one of my storage Magic Bullet cups. And it all fits neatly into my matching lunch bag. Can you tell I like pink?
If you carry your lunch to work or send a lunch to school with your child I highly recommend these. They are cheap, durable and you can microwave them without worry. But what I like the most is that they are small and cute. This way I can still be fashionable and save money for important things like new spring clothes! :-)
Another piece of advice, read the instructions! The soup bowl should be microwaved with the top on and the vent hole opened. I was surprised to read this but when I tried it my food warmed up quickly and thoroughly. Money well spent!